Ossie Vamps it Up – But Superbly

1970s, celia birtwell, flair magazine, Inspirational Images, kari ann muller, manolo blahnik, ossie clark, Peter Rand, quorum
Long dress with side pleats and sash tie at back, in black marocain flower print, red poppies at the neck.

OSSIE CLARK, twenty-nine, designs clothes that would be right up the street for the woman whose profession is the oldest in the world. There’s nothing Woman’s Lib. here, thank you. His twelfth collection is outlandishly, gloriously and candidly tarty. But tarty in the ’40s and early ’50s sense of dressing: brazen, glamorous, passion-ately female. The cut of the clothes is masterful. The old black magic is there. Jazzy sequins. Star insets. High wedge heels. Ankle straps. Bias cut crepe. Oodles of pleats. Blowsy tulips and full-blown poppy prints. Plus black, and lots of it. You name it—it’s there, superbly executed.

Fabrics include new prints on marocain by Ossie’s wife, Celia Birtwell. Hairdos evoke memories of Rita Hayworth & Co. And contours are as they should be: breasts (bra-less), waists, hips and bottoms are all back in their rightful place — and proud of it. Ossie’s new clothes are as scarlet womanish as they are beautiful and witty. When you wear them you automatically adopt a Monroe wiggle.

Top price for a frock from his collection is £150, but around a fiver will buy you a printed crepe shirt. You may not be able to take this look seriously — but it will probably influence the way you dress next season. For Ossie’s secret as a designer is that his tarty vamps keep chic and never look cheap, jaded, or just plain common.

Photographed here are a selection of Ossie’s new clothes.

All enquiries for stockists and prices to Quorum Wholesale, 6 Burnsall Street, SW3.

Modelled by Kari-Ann Muller.

Hair by Richard at Maximillian.

Shoes by Manolo Blahnik for Zapata, 49 Old Church Street, SW3, from £17.75.

Photographed by Peter Rand.

Scanned from Flair, August 1971.

Red and green strawberry embroidery on black crepe Oxford bags, matching waistcoat and jacket and red blouse.
A Long, black, marocain dress side pleats, printed with pink and green begonias.
A black marocain multi-coloured flower print dress with suede halter bib trimmed with ric-rac.
Red, blue and green poppy and daisy print on black marocain hour-glass dress.
Red crepe off-the-shoulder dress (with strawberry embroidered 11″ jacket, not shown).

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